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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947

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    Release No. 09-005

    January 22, 2009


    A Westlake Village man was taken into federal custody this afternoon after being charged with distribution of narcotics for allegedly selling psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms that were used by a group of young people, including a 17-year-old girl who took the “magic mushrooms” and was later fatally struck by a vehicle on the Ventura Freeway.

    Steven Thomas Roman, 30, of Westlake Village, was taken into custody by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Roman had been in custody in Ventura County since his arrest in September 2008 on charges of distribution of the club drug ecstasy.

    According to a criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court in Los Angeles, a group of young people had gathered in an apartment complex in Thousand Oaks in August 2004. One of the group members contacted a man and ordered a quantity of psilocybin mushrooms. The man, later identified as Roman, arrived at the complex with the mushrooms. After eating the mushrooms, a 17-year-old girl identified as V.N. began behaving in a bizarre fashion, causing friends to attempt to lock her in a room, according to the affidavit. However, V.N. escaped and was later walking naked on the Ventura Freeway in Newbury Park in the middle of the night when she was struck by a motorist, causing her death. Investigators determined that the motorist was not responsible for the girl’s death and that she had drugs in her system, including the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

    In the fall of 2008, Roman was arrested by investigators with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department after he twice allegedly sold ecstasy tablets to a confidential informant. During a post-arrest interview, Roman admitted that in 2004 he had sold the psilocybin mushrooms to the group that included V.N.

    Roman has been in custody since being arrested by Ventura County authorities on September 10, 2008. He was charged on Wednesday in federal court with distribution of controlled substances, specifically ecstasy and psilocybin mushrooms, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

    A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.

    Roman is expected to make his initial appearance in United States District Court tomorrow.

    The case against Roman is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, which received assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


    Release No. 09-005
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index